If I suspect I might be going to or even just through an area that might have sticks I make sure my stick collecting tools are in the car with me.
Alder isn't a bad wood. If you look for logging roads that are a few years old there are often a lot of seedlings growing on or by them.
Alder tends to be one of the first trees to start growing on disturbed soil.
I really need to get out and find more sticks.